NASCAR & Auto Racing

As Myrtle Beach Speedway is honored for grassroots, will NASCAR’s big boys ever return?

Take a ride around Myrtle Beach Speedway in a real NASCAR Stock Car

The NASCAR Racing Experience at Myrtle Beach Speedway lets you climb into the passenger seat and hit the track with a professional stock car driver, reaching speeds in excess of 100 mph.
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The NASCAR Racing Experience at Myrtle Beach Speedway lets you climb into the passenger seat and hit the track with a professional stock car driver, reaching speeds in excess of 100 mph.

You can see the pleas on social media often.

Many people express their love for short-track racing and say they would love to see one of NASCAR’s top series return to places like Myrtle Beach Speedway.

While MBS General Manager Steve Zacharias said the track would be open to the possibility, he said actually making it happen would be a long shot.

“We’ve thrown around the idea and we’re working on some things, but the cost right now for us to have to renovate to get to the level to be able to handle that is astronomical,” he said. “So until we get somebody to get on board — whether it’s a partner of some kind — that wants to help us it would just be about physically impossible.”

Therefore, for now, Myrtle Beach Speedway will continue to serve as a spot for grassroots racing. And while some on social media yearn for more, others are taking the time to applaud the lower levels of racing as the road to Daytona continues. Richmond Raceway, for one, will be celebrating the track on Sunday as part of the Richmond Raceway Road Trip for Daytona Speedweeks.

Richmond Raceway, which hosts NASCAR races during the season, began its short track tour with a stop at Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway in Virginia and includes stops at Southern National Motorsports Park in North Carolina, Myrtle Beach Speedway, Oglethorpe Speedway Park in Georgia and New Smyrna Speedway in Florida before arriving in Daytona, Florida, where the Daytona 500 will take place Feb. 17.

“As DAYTONA Speedweeks signals the start of a new NASCAR season, we will launch our season by crossing our historic start/finish line to begin the Richmond Raceway Road Trip to Daytona International Speedway,” said Richmond President Dennis Bickmeier said in a news release, adding that the track will be debuting the Richmond Raceway Simulator, a fan driving experience. “We are avid supporters of grassroots racing through Racing Virginia, so we look forward to visiting short tracks across five states.”

Zacharias said Richmond Raceway approached him about including Myrtle Beach Speedway in the road trip and he was happy to participate. Representatives of the Richmond track are expected to arrive around 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

“It’s just nice to see short tracks helping out short tracks,” said Zacharias, who is in Daytona this weekend. “That’s kind of what we’re down here doing. All the tracks are getting together and trying to share ideas. It’s nice. And the big tracks coming through paying honor to the little tracks is cool.”

Myrtle Beach Speedway. The Sun News file photo

MBS held its 4th Annual Ice Breaker Race last weekend and returns to action with the Spring Fling Race on March 2 as another season of grassroots racing continues in Horry County.

Myrtle Beach Speedway last hosted a major NASCAR event in 2000, when the Busch (now Xfinity) Series raced here. But while the idea of hosting Xfinity and Gander Outdoors Truck series races is intriguing, Zacharias said racing wouldn’t be the same without tracks like Myrtle Beach that currently host the lower levels of racing.

“It’s like baseball having minor leagues. Without it, you’re not growing the sport. . . . I think the grassroots stuff is probably the best racing,” he said. “The local guys have a part in it and they put so much effort in day in and day out personally. It’s their cars, it’s their passion, the whole thing. It’s really cool to be a part of it.”

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David Wetzel serves in both editor and reporter roles for The Sun News. An award-winning journalist, he has reported on all types of news, sports and features stories in over a decade as a member of the staff. Wetzel has won awards for sports column, feature and headline writing.